Association of habitual physical activity with cardiovascular risk factors and target organ damage in adolescents and young adults

Samuel G. Wittekind, Nicholas M. Edwards, Philip R. Khoury, Connie E. McCoy, Lawrence M. Dolan, Thomas R. Kimball, Elaine M. Urbina

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Background: We aimed to (1) compare a subjective and objective measure of habitual physical activity (PA), (2) determine the association of PA and cardiovascular risk factors, and (3) test the hypothesis that PA is an independent determinant of target organ damage in youth. Methods: Cross-sectional analysis of youth with and without type 2 diabetes [mean age = 22 (3.9) y]. PA was measured with International Physical Activity Questionnaire and Actical accelerometer. Target organ damage was assessed with echocardiography and peripheral arterial testing. Subjects were stratified into tertiles of total PA, and differences were tested by analysis of variance and χ2 tests. General linear models tested for independent associations. Results: The correlation between International Physical Activity Questionnaire and accelerometry was weak (r = .23, P = .0003). Less active subjects had worse cardiovascular risk profiles and target organ damage, including stiffer arteries (P < .01). These outcome differences did not reach statistical significance when adjusted for covariates, such as lipid levels and glycemic control. Conclusion: Survey assessment of PA is complicated by inaccurate reporting. There is a strong association of habitual PA with cardiovascular risk factor clustering. PA may exert its beneficial effect on arterial stiffness in obese youth through improved glycemic control.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)176-182
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Physical Activity and Health
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by National Institutes of Health (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute) grants R01 HL076269 and R01 HL105591. Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under award number UL1 TR001425. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health. The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose. The authors have no financial relationships relevant to this article to disclose.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Human Kinetics, Inc.


  • Accelerometry
  • Arterial stiffness
  • Diastolic dysfunction
  • IPAQ
  • Strain


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